Ramen Yamadaya

I visited Ramen Yamadaya a few weeks ago, after hearing good reviews from other food bloggers. Because of the heat wave(s), I never really felt like eating ramen – but there was one Sunday that was relatively cool, so S and I went with a couple of friends.

The indoor seating area was pretty tiny, so we sat on the patio. I didn’t mind at all since it was a nice evening (and plus, I believe the A/C wasn’t working indoors so it would have been realllly hot.)

According to Dennis, author of A Radiused Corner and my go-to expert on ramen, Yamadaya serves Hakata ramen, which has a thick tonkotsu broth made from boiling pork bones for many hours, and – according to Wikipedia – should have a consistency similar to milk, melted butter, or gravy. Mmm…

There are 4 types of ramen: tonkotsu, tonkotsu shoyu, tonkotsu kotteri, and tonkotsu spicy. You could also upgrade any of them to “Yamadaya Ramen,” which includes two types of chashu (usually there’s just one), menma (Japanese-style dried bamboo shoots), nori, and an extra half of a soft-boiled egg. I chose the Yamadaya Ramen with tonkotsu spicy with medium spiciness level. I found it interesting that if you wanted very hot, there is an extra 25 cent charge… special hot sauce?

Yamadaya Ramen (Tonkotsu Spicy) ($9.95)

I took one sip and fell in love with the broth. It was indeed very creamy, and so rich. Because of the upgrade, I had two types of pork: the traditional chashu pork, and a piece of kakuni pork belly, both of which were very tender and flavorful. The soft-boiled egg was pretty good, although S and I agreed that Yakyudori Yakitori‘s is better. (And for me, nothing beats the soft-boiled egg at Ramen Halu in San Jose.) Also, I believe they only use thin noodles… which are my favorite! Yay.

S chose the famous tonkotsu kotteri, which is the tonkotsu broth with black garlic oil. I took a few sips of the broth, and I’m not sure how I feel about the black garlic. It lends a deep, fermented flavor, which made the broth just a bit too rich for me. My other friends liked it, though.

He also chose to get a “combo” – ramen, gyoza or kara-age, and steamed rice for an extra $3. The kara-age was pretty good, just missing mayo for dipping… :P

Tonkotsu Kotteri ($8.45)

Kara-age (part of combo meal, $3 extra)

You could also get a combo with ramen, gyoza or kara-age, and a special rice bowl for $4.80 extra. Another friend of mine chose gyoza and the mabo tofu bowl. The other bowl choices were curry, chashu, mentaiko, croquette, and spicy tuna. I tried a bit of the mabo tofu – the sauce is a little sweet, not too spicy, and nothing like the traditional Asian style, but I liked it.

Tonkotsu Kotteri combo with gyoza and mabo tofu bowl ($13.25)

My friend insisted that I should take a photo of the entire set, but he had already eaten a piece of gyoza… haha. So he wanted to clarify that you actually get four pieces of gyoza, not three.

Anyway, I enjoyed my meal here, and this may just be my new favorite ramen spot in San Diego. The spicy tonkotsu broth really won me over, and I look forward to many more meals here once it starts cooling down here.

Read other posts on Ramen Yamadaya by Dennis at A Radiused Corner, Kirbie at Kirbie’s Cravings, James at Gastro Bits, and Kirk at mmm-yoso.

Ramen Yamadaya
4706 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA



  1. says

    Whoa new template! I like it Jinxi. The spicy is the only one I haven’t tired. I also noticed recently they’ve been ok serving the thicker noodles now (I’m guessing ones meant for their tsukemen) to customers. Probably from too many request from people not used to the thinner noodles. I was surprised in enjoying the Tonkotsu-shoyu, probably cause it was the lightest. The heavy kotteri I admit in only being able to handle occasionally.

    • says

      Thanks! I actually enjoyed the thin noodles but most other people don’t seem to like them. I’ll also try out the tonkotsu shoyu and tsukemen as well.


  1. […] for the ramen itself, the tonkotsu broth was quite hearty, but not as rich as Ramen Yamadaya. It wasn’t overly salty, which is a plus. The toppings were a mix of traditional and novelty, […]

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